Opposition Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA) leader and former deputy prime minister Ali Babacan has blamed President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for Turkey’s soaring inflation, local media reported on Friday.
Inflation, which had stood at 73.5 percent in May and at 15.0 percent at the start of last year, rose to 78.6 percent, the highest rate since January 1998, in June, with unofficial estimates published by Turkish economists showing prices rising at more than double that figure.
Babacan, who resigned from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), of which he was a founding member, in 2019, citing concerns and disagreements over its direction, and unveiled DEVA in March 2020, blamed the president for the country’s record high inflation.
Babacan’s criticism came after Erdoğan on Friday said in a video message released on the sixth anniversary of an abortive putsch on July 15, 2016, that high inflation was a “predicament” that is the “continuation of July 15.”
Underlining that inflation was not only Turkey’s problem but the whole world’s, the president said, “We’ll be one of the first countries to emerge from this turbulence.”
“Thus, we’ll leave behind another predicament that we see as the continuation of July 15 and continue with the construction of a great and powerful Turkey,” Erdoğan added.
Referring to his remarks, Babacan said in a tweet, “You see it wrong, Mr. Erdoğan. Inflation is the cost of your mistakes on this nation.”
Turkey’s inflation crisis started when Erdoğan forced the central bank to go through with a series of interest rate cuts last year that he said were part of his “new economic model.”
The policy rate went down despite rising consumer prices.
Erdoğan rejects conventional economics and insists that high interest rates cause prices to rise, while economists believe his approach has exacerbated the pain felt worldwide from the jump in food and energy prices caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.